I hope everyone’s weekend went well! I know I had a blast on mine. I had the entire weekend off and got to spend it exploring with my partner. This doesn’t happen very often as I usually have to work the weekend.
Enough with the personal stuff though! We’re here to talk about anthropomorphism today. We did discuss it briefly last week in my post about Pathetic Fallacy. We’re going to talk about it in more depth here today and I’m going to relate it back to setting as well.
First off, let’s start with our definition of what anthropomorphism is:
Anthropomorphism: the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object.
Now, doesn’t this sound familiar to last week? The biggest difference here is that you’re not projecting feeling onto your animals, deities or objects. Your objects, deities and animals actually feel these things and are sentient beings.
Honestly, the best example I can give you is Disney. They take animals or as the cover picture for this post, inanimate objects and turn them into characters that we can relate to. Almost any Disney movie has some sort of animal character that can either talk or acts in a way different than an actual animal does. The animals are characters, yes, but they are also part of the setting. Having these animals behave in ways other than ordinary, takes they viewer, or reader, out of their realm of disbelief and into one of fantasy.
For example, in stories, such as, The Chronicles of Narnia, the animals that talk and relate to the human characters are also a part of the setting. Their very presence tells us what type of world we’re in. We’re in one of make believe, but that looks similar to the one we are in until the animals start talking and we go back in time a bit in regards to the castle and governing system.
So how do we use it in our setting?
Well, I’ve given you a big hint already. It can help establish your world beyond the ordinary. Beauty and the Beast is a good example of this. When Belle’s father walks into the Enchanted Palace, he notices right away that something is amiss. The furniture is talking and walking around. For that reason alone we know we’re in a world not our own. This is literally making the setting a character in your story. The part they play may not be all that important to the plot, but they will help you set up your place and your tone.
That’s it for me folks! I know it’s a short one today. Honestly, there was not a lot of other resources I could pull from on this topic. So, if you do think of another way it can be useful or any other functions it may serve, please let me know!
On Thursday we’ll be talking about another literary device, again similar to this one. We’ll be talking about personification. After that, we’ll touch base on writing good setting descriptions.